On April 5, grab your friends and take a worthwhile study break to experience the Sozo Children’s Choir performance here at Samford’s Wright Center. The Birmingham-based global non-profit, Sozo Children, is proud and excited to introduce the energetic, talented and Christ-hearted singers in their care to the Samford community. The Sozo Children’s Choir embarked on their U.S. tour on Jan. 3 and will return home to Uganda on May 6. During these months they will have performed 96 times in 14 different states. With the youngest singer being 9 and the oldest being 19, the Sozo choir is a close-knit and dynamic group.
“I really encourage all ages to come. It is touching for everyone,” said Choir director Jon Brennan. “We are a family. They’re brothers and sisters. They definitely look to each other for examples.”
Brennan, a former youth pastor in the Birmingham area, felt called to missions in Uganda after experiencing a Kenyan children’s choir concert at his local church. Regarding his early connections with the non-profit, Brennan said, “I’ve been involved with Sozo before it existed.”
Along with fellow leaders and former youth group students, Sozo was established in 2010 to bring Christ, education and family to the children of Uganda, taking a significant step in alleviating areas of deep suffering in this nation.
Acting on God’s call and using his gifts as a youth pastor, Brennan spent nine months of the past year in Uganda preparing the Sozo children’s choir for their 2018 tour.
“I’ve seen children and teenagers grow up to know Christ and to change the world,” said Brennan.
Through their performances, continuing their education and life on the road, these kids are both thriving, and remembering those who continue to suffer at home in Uganda.
“They remember being hungry,” said Brennan. “They remember suffering when they were younger. They see the big picture of the rescue that’s happening.”
As Marketing Director of Sozo Children, Amanda Straka offered a glimpse of what to expect as an audience member on Thursday night. This concert will not simply be stage-centered; it will be an interactive and compelling experience as the children perform traditional African dances, lead worship songs and share their faith stories.
“It will be an exciting, energetic and vibrant performance,” said Straka. “Every time I see it, it brings tears to my eyes.”
For those interested in learning more about Sozo Children or volunteering their time and resources as college students, there are several outlets to become connected. Attend and spread the word about Sozo Children’s free and public concert this Thursday night, support the Sozo Trading Co. thrift store in Avondale, or participate in the upcoming Run for a Reason 5K on April 7 to witness this global mission and vision in action.
For further information about Sozo Children and how to get involved, visit www.sozochildren.org.
Carol Graffeo, Features Writer
Pictured: Sozo Children’s Choir
[Photo courtesy of Amanda Straka]